NASCAR, we have a problem

It has been said that there has been cheating going on in NASCAR since they first started. Yes, advantages were sought, but usually it was to make the car go faster in order to win, not to throw the race in order to fix an outcome.

Richard Petty, the King himself, got caught winning with an engine that was not just a bit too big but more like super sized. Country singer Marty Robbins turned down rookie of the race honors after racing at Talladega in 1972 as he had modified the restrictor plate just to see what it was like to run like Richard Petty. Some boys have run with nitrous oxide bottles, some with expanded gas tanks, others with modified car frames, and the list goes on and on.

So, what is the big deal? Well, fixing the outcome of a contest gets you tossed for life out of baseball. Shoeless Joe Jackson would have been in the Hall of Fame 60 years ago if not for that 1919 World Series. Fixing the outcome in NASCAR should come with consequences, as well, if you do not want it to go the route of professional wrestling. Goodbye six figured prize money, multi-million dollar sponsorship deals, national television contracts, and goodbye to all those fans who expect to see a real contest presenting an outcome not fixed before or during a race.

If not for Michael Waltrip Racing, Joey Logano would probably have finished 25th instead of 22nd at Richmond. If he had, Logano would have needed to use his wild card eligibility to make it through, beating out both Martin Truex Jr and Ryan Newman, with Jeff Gordon advancing by finishing 10th in the standings. If not for David Gilliland, Logano would have finished 23rd, tied with Gordon in points but still finishing tenth due to having a win, something Gordon does not yet have this season.

From listening to the in-car radio, it appears Logano’s team big wigs made a deal with Gilliland’s outfit to allow Joey to move past and into 22nd spot on the final lap. Just some insurance, as in the end the spot was not crucial to deciding the final pre-Chase standings. Still, the fix was in, even if it turned out to be unnecessary. Of course, it become unnecessary only because of Bowyer’s spin and the fact both his car and that of Brian Vickers made, some contend, very unnecessary pit stops to allow Logano to move up a couple of spots in the first place.

More worrisome, there was already chatter to play “Let’s Make A Deal” between Penske and Front Row before Bowyer even went for his slide. That should be a huge red flag for anybody. It may have turned out to be unnecessary in the end, but that was not the case when they started talking.

Just as you can not fix a baseball game, in this day and age you can not fix a NASCAR race. If you do not believe me, check out the reaction of those MWR sponsors who do not seem very happy about all this. If I have not yet made my point, imagine a major league baseball player going on Twitter to even jokingly discuss fixing a game. That boy’s ass would be grass and the Commissioner would be just jumping at the bit to take his mower to that lawn.

Can we stop cheating in NASCAR? Nope. Can we make damn sure those on whom we have evidence that they did cheat pay the price? Damn right we can. Cheat if you must, bu if you get caught cheating there should be hell to pay. If NASCAR prefers to continue having its big awards banquet at venues like the Wynn Las Vegas Luxury Resort and Casino instead of the Economy Motel in Rockingham, North Carolina, they damn well better make sure that is the case.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


  1. Talk about “bed.” Who do you think is in bed with NA$CAR? Roger Penske, who else? Any other team in the 22 cheating position would have drawn losing points from the chase and have been looking in from the outside. Don’t forget who sold (ISC-the I Steal Cash France Family) bought Michigan and Fontana from. Bill Jr. would not have been the wimp that Bryan is, and done it correctly.

  2. The reaction by fans and sponsors BOTH created a situation NASCAR had to react to, which is why bringing Jeff Gordon into the Chase was a good move for them. It was less messy than to confront Penske and Front Row and puts the issue to bed, at least for the moment. Without the new fans and the rich sponsors, NASCAR would find itself back to where it once was…in the 1970s.

  3. Well said, Jim. The NASCAR media are the manipulative ones, by blowing this whole thing out of proportion. Old NASCAR fans are laughing at the newbies to the sport and their hand wringing. Especially galling is the righteous indignation from the likes of Hammond and MacReynolds who have turned a twisted wrench a time or two when they were in the trenches. Everyone is afraid of criticizing NASCAR and their cynical attempts to pump up ratings and ticket sales, which are failing spectacularly BTW (empty seats at the Brickyard and Bristol? OMG)

    As near as I can tell, the only media not afraid to call out NASCAR are Dallenbach and Kyle Petty, which is why I enjoy listening to them the most.

  4. Way to many so called “expert” commentators, writers, and former broadcasters all stating the obvious. Trying to change NASCAR is the reason it’s in the shape it is now. If you don’t like the way it’s done, don’t watch. If anyone thinks they can do it so much better then write a check for around 20 million and put your “perfect” team on track.

  5. I love it when jerks rail on Jeff Gordon. Sorry they live such a sheltered life. Couldn’t stand it when a newcomber who was good kept Dale Sr. from winning his 8th or 9th championship. Why else would they dislike him. Good person, quality life, helps kids (don’t tell me about the tax thing) Just because he could win. Get another platform or playbook to read out. Just like a playbook of a certain party in Washington.

    Jeff Gordon got hosed at Richmond. Plain and Simple.

  6. Anyone who thinks this hasn’t been going on forever is living fantasy land. Nascar does it every time they produce one of their staged entertainment events that used to be called races. Every mystery caution for example. There was one at Richmond just in the knick of time to help Jeffy. Drivers constantly let each other by for the lead to get an extra point. I firmly believe those still screaming the loudest days later are the worst offenders and are the best at it. The blame for the state of Nascar should go directly to the top, Brian France. He is responsible for trying to make what was Racing into something it’s not. If anybody should be fined it should be him. Better yet, he should be fired!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles